Religious leadership is born of vision.
Without shared vision, leadership is lifeless; it becomes a pallid shadow of good management, and certainly doesn’t rise to the level of inspired leadership. If we do not share a vision, our programs will be silos, our efforts scattered. Our institutions will wither on the vine, lacking a reason for being.
The minister and church staff are ultimately responsible to the congregation’s identity, its reason for being, its shared vision. Over the last fifteen years, in my work of supervision, management, public leadership and advocacy, and church leadership, I have striven to keep shared identity and vision at the center of the work. Vision defines who we are in relation to our institution and inspires our ministries. Furthermore, shared vision gives us a standard of excellence to which we can aspire.
Aspiration, reaching for extraordinary ministry—all of us together—is vital if we are to be an extraordinary church. Without clear, supportive-and-challenging leadership that includes management and administration, the institutions we serve lose energy and direction.
More important than achieving a standard of excellence at every turn is accepting risks which help us grow. In order to support staff and lay leaders, I accompany them as in making mistakes, recovering, and moving forward with new understanding.
While appropriate boundaries are essential to powerful, effective, life-giving leadership, leading is also inseparable from loving covenant. Respect for one another’s work, compassion, honesty, assumption of good intent, and responsibility are all essential to the staff covenant which is one of the first collaborative creations I hope to share in any new ministry.
Preaching and teaching. Administration and stewardship. Prayer and practice. So much of ministry is leadership, and I embrace it wholeheartedly.